To the attuned metal ear, Blizzard Beasts is more Morbid Angel-influenced, while the albums from At the Heart of Winter onwards are more like 1980s Metallica. And Damned in Black has that very huge "arena" sound as well, while still being very no-frills.
Sadly, Damned in Black is devoid of the huge moments in which other Immortal albums are superabundant. There is a cool break in "My Dimension," the first riff to the title track is huge, and the first song "Triumph" knows its way around the Bathory discography--but for the most part, the songs are same-y, and you never need to put down your nail-clippers (or what have you) in order to start headbanging.
Most of all, Damned in Black is not a grower. At all. It is without charm, without "hits," and never distinguishes itself from their other albums in this style. It sounds cool, and I'm glad to own it, but---you know when you like a band so much, that even their lesser works get a lot of play, and they start to grow on you? Well, with Immortal, Damned in Black never really enters the rotation, it just sits there, not really demanding any re-evaluation. Which is not to say that this is not a veritable encyclopedia of riffs. But the whole is truly less than the sum of its parts in this case.
Score: 2.5 stars /5 (** 1/2)
Best songs: "The Darkness that Embrace Me," [sic] "My Dimension," "Against the Tide"